Calls for helpline to be established for victims of Scouting Ireland

A special helpline should be set up for victims of sexual abuse during their time in the scouts, Fianna Fáil has said.

The party has called for proper supports to be put in place after a review found evidence of 71 suspected abusers and 108 victims mostly dating from the 1960s to the 1980s.

There are fears the number of historical abuse cases involving scouting organisations could grow substantially.

Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader Dara Calleary said a “huge number of people are affected”.

“They were much younger when they suffered the initial abuse, but may not have come forward with their story and are holding on to what happened to them. Indeed, they have held on to it for many years,” he told the Dáil.

He said having supports including access to counselling will help people come forward.

Mr Calleary asked Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan if the Government will consider the establishment of a helpline “to allow people to come forward in confidence”.

The Ministers said that like all TDs he was “appalled at the allegations of historical abuse allegations that have emerged at Scouting Ireland”.

“I assure Deputy Calleary that every support will be made available to the victims in order to ensure that they can come forward and do come forward, and that they are assisted in that pursuit. The appropriate authorities will engage in the necessary investigative work. 

“The Government and all appropriate State agencies will make every effort to ensure that this issue can be fully investigated and that all victims can come forward in a timely and appropriate manner,” he said.

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